Joseph Quinn

Recent Articles

Social Security on the Table

Must we destroy Social Security in order to save it?

S uddenly, Social Security is no longer sacrosanct. Critics say the program is going bankrupt, about to be overwhelmed by the graying of the baby-boom generation. Many young workers have little confidence that Social Security will be there when they retire. This, in turn, has invited an unprecedented discussion of radical structural changes. For the first time, the official Social Security Advisory Council is offering three wide-ranging proposals for restructuring. All three envision investing some Social Security funds in private financial markets. Two of the three would create, for the first time, individual investment accounts financed with Social Security payroll charges. This is a remarkable turnabout, substantively and politically. In 1983, the last time Social Security's finances were shored up, so strong was the support for the existing system that advocates of privatization on the Reagan White House staff were kept far from the deliberations. In the 1992 presidential election...